Vintage Finds: Minut-Bun Bar-BQ-Bar

Retro Staff Comments

This vintage find is an interesting piece of restaurant equipment picked up at Antiques USA in Arundel, Maine. It’s a countertop barbecue sandwich warmer, made about 1951. From advertisements and trade articles discovered online, it appears that this food service machine was a popular invention in the 1950s.


Helmco Minut-Bun

This 1950s restaurant service machine promised a warm BBQ sandwich and one minute service!


Manufactured by Helmco, Inc. of Chicago, Illinois, the Minut-Bun was distributed to franchises throughout the midwestern United States. Used at food concessions such as lunch counters, carnivals and anywhere there was an electrical outlet and hungry customers these were touted as being able to produce a warm barbecue sandwich in one minute. The buns were heated on 2 metal warmers, and then filled with hot barbecued meat from the ceramic-lined crock. The buns were pouched-shaped, to avoid spilling of their contents.


Bun Toasters

Pouch-shaped buns were warmed on two heated prongs.


BBQ Sandwich Maker

Adjustable heat settings on the ceramic-lined crock kept the barbecue filling heated until the bun was ready.


Helmco, Inc. was a commercial fountain and food service equipment manufacturer of 50 different food service machines through the 1950s. In 1962 they were acquired by Star International, also a maker of food service equipment. They just don’t make cool machines like this anymore, and this is a great new addition to our personal collection.


Helmco Inc.

Helmco Inc. manufactured more than 50 different food service machines throughout the 1950s.



The Minut-Bun was a successful franchise during the 1950s when lunch counters were popular.


Last updated: Jun 26, 2015
Filed under: Vintage Finds Tagged with: barbecue, diners, vintage appliances